SSG STEVEN RAY CHANDLER RIP, SSG Chandler and I met my first day in E Troop.We shared a room on the third floor. I knew from the day we met, that it was going to be a life long friendship. Little did I know how much impact, each of us would have on one another. In March 1976, I was notified by the red cross, that I needed to go on emergency leave. My wife was having major surgery on her female parts. I requested a $200.00 dollar GRANT, something that I would not have to pay back. They turned me down. I went back to the barracks not knowing what to do. Steve stepped up to me and said without hesitation how much do you need. I told him around 2 hundred. he reached for his wallet and pulled out 2 100 dollar bills.I said Steve I can't take this, I don't even know if I'll be returning. He looked at me and said "Brother, your wife needs you, more than I need this two hundred dollars, take it and go home to your family." On that day I knew I would never lose touch with him.
After my Broken Neck, and my ultimate discharge, I made it my business to know where he was at all times. In 1986, he came to visit me in St. Louis, MO. I was so excited to see him, I just wanted to hug him, so I did. He brought his fiance with him, little did I know, that I was being set up.
Finally, after the first week, he broke the news to me. I had been CHOSEN to stand up for him and my wife was to be the brides maid. He told me that he did not want a traditional wedding. So that put my little scheming mind into motion. After all the blood work and license had been taken care of.
I mentioned to a friend of mine, who was a minister, if he had ever married anyone on top of a steamliner. He said no, so I called another friend of mine who just happened to be the manager on what used to be a big tourist attraction in St, Louis. They had turned the Admineral Ship, into a floating restaurant. So That was where he got Married.